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January 08, 2010

City Seeks Input on Possible New Moran Tenants

Local-moran Burlington officials are asking residents to help them pick from among four potential new tenants for the Moran Redevelopment Project.

The city's Community and Economic Development Office will host a series of public meetings this month to solicit feedback and questions about the potential tenants, one of which will be selected to join Ice Factor International and the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center as tenants in the project.

Last fall, the Green Mountain Children's Museum pulled out of the project, leaving only two possible anchor tenants. Since then, the city received proposals from non-profit groups interested in occupying up to 7000 square feet of ground floor space in the Moran Center at Waterfront Park redevelopment project.

Burlington College, Burlington City Arts, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum offered proposals. Summaries of each organization’s proposal can be found after the jump.

Burlington City Arts:  Proposes to use 7000 square feet to create an extension of the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts with a focus on arts education. BCA would: run classes, camps and workshops in drawing, painting, photography and digital media, as well as professional development, design and merchandising; allow people to drop in and make art in short format classes; create exhibition space for education and tourism and rent space for large-scale events; and possibly manage a small store that would sell work of Vermont artists. BCA would grow their relationships with area colleges that currently use their facilities to offer classes for credit.

Burlington College:  Proposes to use between 4000 - 7000 square feet to create a multi-use facility to serve as a community gallery and public art space for exhibits, dance workshops, etc.; an event space for lectures, conferences, and events; and classrooms (including green build and environmental retrofitting classes). The college would also move (and expand) two functions to the Moran building: the Institute for Civic Engagement, which engages citizens in discourse regarding important issues; and the Pro Se Legal Clinic, which teaches low-income and disadvantaged Vermonters to manage their own legal issues. 

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts: Proposes to use approximately 3000 square feet of indoor space for classes, camps, and informal performance, plus some outdoor performance area, perhaps in the fountain/plaza area. Since FCPA is considering using less than the full space previously allotted to Green Mountain Children’s Museum, they have raised the possibility of collaborating with another organization whose mission and programming would be compatible (specifically mentioning BCA and LCMM). 

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum: Proposes to use 7000 square feet to create a new LCMM branch called the "Shipwreck Center," which will include interactive museum exhibits and theater space inside the building, focusing on the shipwrecks of Lake Champlain. The exhibits would include recovered artifacts, full sized replica vessels and other objects that tell the story of the lake's military, commercial and cultural history. LCMM also proposes to relocate to Moran the activities currently housed at Perkins Pier, including porting the schooner Lois McClure, and the Burlington Community and Youth Rowing project.

I'm sorry, but this last proposal had me at "Shipwreck Center." I think that's all I needed to hear to cast my vote (for myself and my kids). The rest of them seem fine, but those proposals could be housed in almost any space in Burlington. But, that's just me.

The city has secured or identified funding from a variety of sources that it claims will not impact local taxpayers. However, each of the private partners are on the hook to raise money to cover the costs of their own construction within Moran, and overall operations. Those development and funding agreements have yet to be signed with the city but are in the works.

As part of the process to identify a potential new tenant(s), the city solicited letters of interest, reconvened the Moran Advisory Group to make recommendations to the mayor on the possible new tenant(s) and will host a series of meetings at city Neighborhood Planning Assemblies in January.

Ward 6 NPA met last night.

Here is the remaining schedule:

Ward 1: Wednesday, January 13 – 7 p.m., Memorial Lounge in UVMs Waterman Bldg
Ward 2/3: Thursday, January 14 – 6:30 p.m., MultiGeneration Center, 241 N. Winooski Ave.
Ward 4/7: Tuesday, January 19 - 6:30 p.m., Miller Center, 130 Gosse Ct.
Ward 5: Wednesday, January 20 – 7 p.m., DPW/Parks Bldg, 645 Pine Street

In addition, the City Council's Parks, Arts and Culture Committee chaired by Independent Karen Paul will hold a public forum on January 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Miller Center, which is located at 130 Gosse Ct.

I'm with you. Shay - I don't get a vote, but I love a good Shipwreck. And as an out-of-towner, that's the one I'd visit!

The idea of LCMM relocating from perkins pier must not be accepted. The moran project cannot allow simple movement of one business on the waterfront to another waterfront location, this defeats the purpose of moran redevelopement. If this happens it might(?) make moran look good at the expense of other areas of the waterfront. Or is that what the Kiss administration wants? I can hear it now, the administration claims victory with a beautifully remodeled moran plant as the rest of the waterfront falls into the lake.

The best thing is to tear the building down.Or we are going to end with higher taxes. Kiss does not care this is about him.

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